Wellness CORE Dog Food Review

The CORE range from Wellness is their premium “grain free” offering, with a number of formulas including puppy and weight control. For this review I’ll focus on the Original formula, but the others are on par.

Wellness have been around for a while, being available across the globe. They’re a big company, and are known to produce high quality premium foods. There used to be a fair amount of negative press about dogs being sick on Wellness CORE, but generally the bigger the brand the more you hear such things. I haven’t heard anything negative for a while now, so this can be overlooked.

Wellness CORE Dog Food Review

The top three ingredients are all meats, with two being protein-rich meat “meals” (a condensed form of meat). That’s great to see, with chicken and turkey both being lean meats. Fantastic!

Peas come next, a common ingredient in grain-free foods. They add fiber to the food, but also additional protein (which is a whopping 34%, way above average).

Potato (and dried ground potato) are used as a carb source. Potato is another common ingredient in grain-free foods as they’re cheap and help bind the kibble together. Sweet potato would’ve been a better lower GI option, but this would increase manufacturing costs.

Wellness CORE Dog Food Review

There’s a range of really nice inclusions in the food to give it a holistic feel – kale, broccoli, spinach, apples, blueberries, natural preservatives, and salmon oil as an excellent choice of oil for skin and coat.

This is without doubt a premium dog food.


Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal (source of Glucosamine), Chicken Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate), Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes, Lentils, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato Pomace, Ground Flaxseed, Natural Chicken Flavor, Salmon Oil, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Chicory Root Extract, Spinach, Broccoli, Carrots, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Kale, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

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8.8 Total Score

  • Excellent meat content, with a balanced range of fruits, veggies, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Sweet potato could be used as a preference to potato.


David D'Angelo

David D'Angelo has worked as a scientist since graduating with a BSc (Hons) in 2000. In addition, David holds a CPD accredited Diploma in Pet Nutrition as well as being CPD accredited VSA (Veterinary Support Assistant). However, his experience and involvement in the pet food industry for 15+ years has given true insight into pet food, formulations, science, research, and pet food marketing. Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Pinterest

  1. i just got the ocean wellness core dog food at the pet store with my grandma for my dog and after looking it up thinking it would be good because of the ingredients, I now know that i am going to poison my dog and i don’t know if I can get more dog food after we bought some as she might think I’m over reacting but I don’t want to poison my dog so i really just don’t know what to do, if I told her I think she would think I’m just worrying over nothing 🙁

  2. Just trying Wellness Core small breeds mixed with Ziwi Peak. I am impressed. My fussy JRT won’t eat regular sized kibble. The Wellness has a small sized kibble so it works for her. ZP is still the favourite but I am blending the two and so far so good.

  3. What are your general thoughts on pet foods/pet treats that are products of thailand like this one?

    I certainly avoid PRC and try to stick to aussie grown and made, but I’ve seen quite a few food products now that say product of thai on them and am unsure.

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) February 2, 2023 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Leanne, it’s a very good question but very hard to answer. It depends on the facility and standards of ingredients and production. From my understanding some facilities in Thailand are a very high standard, and as a business considered very beneficial for the Thai economy. The same can be said for Australian manufacturing facilities, and it’s not as if we have stringent standards. In contrast European standards seem much higher.

  4. Had my German shorthaired pointer on Wellness core original for a few months now, impressed with the kibble size and ingredients, no issues whatsoever.
    Have ordered the lamb version and will move onto that next, shiny coat and happy dog

  5. is there any update on the lawsuit, or if they have changed their ingredients to reduce the toxins?

    • I couldn’t find a conclusion to it so I messaged someone on Facebook who posted it who knows about this stuff, but I haven’t got a message back and I don’t necessarily know if I will, maybe I should ask that other person who actually messages back well sometimes.

      • thanks

        • I went and tried to find the post made my “the truth about pet food” but I couldn’t find it so I didn’t ask, I guess I could of asked anyways but I didn’t really think about it. I’ll go ask and see if it allows me to send the message directly to her or she won’t see it.

        • Many thanks. I’ve found the court papers but they are trying to dismiss it based on it not being a nationally represented case. But that’s about it.

        • That’s what usually happens, that or they dismiss it because they have no proof.

  6. Hi here’s the link for Wellness Lawsuit… https://www.chagrinfallspetclinic.com/2017/09/25/wellness-dog-food-class-action-law-suit/ there’s also another Lawsuit against Blue Buffalo & Blue Wilderness dry kibble being very high in toxins, we don’t have the Blue Amecian pet foods. Thank God..

  7. Hi,
    just be careful feeding the “Wellness Core Ocean” grain free kibble, there’s a Lawsuit at the moment with Wellpet after “Clean Label Project” found Toxins, Lead, Mercury, Arsenic, Metals & Contamnates that were 10 times the recommended amount in their Wellness Ocean Formula & a few other Wellness formula’s & treats..

    • It’s was just the Wellness Fish formula’s, since this testing Wellness might have change fish suppliers & when CLP test Wellness again every 3 months Wellness might be on the 5 Star list?
      Stay away from ALL “FISH” brands, no matter what brand you’re feeding..Fish dog foods are NO good..

      Wellness makes very good dog & cat foods, heaps better then most of our Australian made pet brands, Australian Pet food are unregulated, imagine if they were tested for contaminates, toxins & heavy metals, we’d have a heart attack..

    • That’s concerning. One of the many reasons to vary foods.

      I’ll pin this to the top for now and investigate further.

      • My groodle tried wellness core large breed puppy. Great food. He loved it and was healthy. It took a while to arrive but living in Perth Australia I understood that. The one small thing I did not like was the bag was not resealable so I had to use a large peg. I emailed the company about it. Just suggesting to make the bag resealable. They did not want to know anything about my suggestion – adviced me to transfer the kibble into a storage container. The way the email was worded just put me off the company. Thank you for you wonderful site and reviews. They are invaluable.

      • Yes I know always rotate your kibbles with DIFFERENT brands.
        Around 3-4 yrs ago Patch came off Vet Diet & I started to try different kibbles when Patch ate MfM Salmon/Sardines, Brown Rice & Veggetables he did OK BUT he got his yeasty smelly skin & paws not being grain free diet I tried TOTW Pacific Stream Smoked Salmon, I read some really good reviews for dogs with IBD & EPI but 1 month on he started vomiting after eating it, something he has never done before vomit up his kibble 20-30mins after eating it, so I changed him over to TOTW Sierra Mountain Roasted Lamb instead & all his vomiting stopped, he was still doing nice firm poo’s but cause he gets Seasonal Allergies in Spring I rotate him onto a fish kibble cause they’re higher in Omega 3, this time I try “Earthborn Holistic” Ocean Fusion he went down hill again like he did when eating TOTW Smoked Salmon, so I tried “Wellness Complete Health” Whitefish & Sweet Potato he seemed to be doing ok but he started doing sloppy poo’s this time I thought it was cause of the Barley but he seemed off & unwell, Summer was over so I went back onto TOTW Roasted Lamb then last Summer I started introducing “Holistic Select” Salmon grain free he was doing well for 2 months then he became ill again in March this year his vet said, it’s his IBD his immune system is going into over drive cause of his Allergies, its been a bad year for Allergies this Summer, so back onto TOTW Lamb then in March “Clean Label Project” released their first Study pet food testing Toxins & Contaminates in American best selling dry, wet & treats, the worse 10 dry pet foods was released & Earthborn Holistic Ocean Fusion came 7th, Holistic Select Salmon came 9th & Wellness Complete Health Whitefish & Sweet Potato got 1 star I dont know where they came but it wasnt good, then CLP did another Study in August & this time they tested more American pet foods & TOTW was tested this time probably cause a few dogs were getting very sick after eating TOTW High Prairie formula some dogs even died on DFA posts, when CLP released their August results the TOTW Pacific Stream & High Prairie tested very high for Toxins & Contaminates, so did Wellness again & Holistic Select Salmon & Duck formulas that was it for me, no more American kibbles,BUT Candiae & their Under the Sun did really well in the CLP testing so I will still rotate Canidae kibbles Canidae also grow their own farmed veggetables, the vet & I kept thinking Patch was sensitive to an ingredient that’s why he was becoming ill & has sloppy poos with some of teh kibbles, when Patch ate MfM Sardine, Brown Rice & Veggetables when it first came out Patch was OK so he can eat fish so it has to be all the Toxins in these fish American kibbles…
        I dont know how our Australian fish kibble would go if they were tested I’d love to know but I think our Australian & New Zealand waters are heaps cleaner then the American waters especially any pet foods coming from North America are really bad, vet diet Eukanuba FP Fish & Potato Patch became real ill, vet thought he cant eat Potatoes, so 2 yrs we didnt try any G/F kibbles cause of the potatoes, Eukanba FP comes from North America….
        I’m starting to feed Australian Pet Foods now & just started introducing MFMs new CN Cool Hypoallergenic Holistic Fish & Veggetables kibble it says its for IBS/IBD skin allergies, digestion Pancreatitis at the moment cause Summer is coming & he has already started scratching & is very itchy But I dont know where MfM source their fish from? but it has to be better then American waters..I wish Patch could eat raw, freeze dried, air dried or cooked diet, I would not be feeding dry processed kibble especially after watching Rodney Habibs & Dr karen Beckers videos “The Truth About Pet Cancer” .

        • Hi Susan. Thank you for the info!! i’m using the wellness core puppy grain free and it doesn’t look like its effected but I’m going to cease using all wellness core products anyway; how are we to trust a company who engages in these horrifying practices!? we pay a premium for peace of mind only to be stabbed in the back.

        • It’s all “FISH” dog foods I wouldnt feed, stay away from Australian made fish formula’s American made fish formula’s etc… Chicken & Turkey are the cleanest meats to feed & human quality meats we eat are best to feed instead of the Pet Meats in Pet Shops….

          I feed Wellness Core Large Breed Chicken Meal & Turkey Meal & the new Wellness Core Senior formula…
          Wellness is a very good brand, they’ve been making dog foods over 100 years now, my boy has IBD & had a bad IBD flare back in January this year I nilly put him to sleep then I changed his dry food I was feeding Nutro Natural Choice Rice & Lamb when he went down hill, I asked my vet should I change his dry food & the vet said, keep feeding him the Nutro, Nutro is made by the same makers who make Advance pet foods, look what happened with Advance Dermacare (Fish) .. In th end the managar at Pet Barn helped me find a dry food that agreed with Patches skin allergies, Food Sensitivities & his IBD, I tried Wellness Core Large Breed Adult, he’s not a large breed dog he’s a Small to Medium size staffy, the Protein%, Fat%, Kcals per cup were perfect in the Wellness Core Large Breed Formula within the first month Patch started to play again & be happy, no crying after he ate, his poos were firm, then the 2nd month while eating Wellness Core Large Breed he was back to his old happy self acting like a young puppy his IBD got better…

  8. We switched our 1 year old German shepherd from Advance total well being to Wellness core grain free.

    Her constant head shaking and allergies seam to have gone away plus she has a little more energy. Never any stomach issues on Advance and none on wellness core either so both foods are gental on the gut but but wellness core is probably the better option long term for sure. I was a little unsure about the brand with fish bones cutting up the insides of dogs stomachs but easy to just avoid the one with fish in it.

  9. Hi, I am currently using this and we love it, but we have some supply issues with our usual supplier and would like to switch to an Australian made product with all Australian ingredients. How would you say the Canidae or Ivory Coat brands compare to Wellness grain free? Is there another Aussie brand with aussie ingredients on par with Wellness GF that you could recommend?

    • Meal for Mutts is Australian made I believe. They have a gluten free grain free salmon and sardine that I feed my white staffy with allergies. I’m only researching the wellness core because my local Petbarn keep sending me 40% off vouchers for a few brands including wellness so i’m looking into this as with 40% off it will be much cheaper then meal for mutts.

    • Reply
      Rachael Jayne Mendizabal September 26, 2016 at 9:45 am

      I am having the same issues Kelly – there is only one supplier in Australia and it seems they aren’t getting it to my store any longer!

      • Its so annoying! Ive switched them to the Ivory Coat and they seem to be loving it. I spoke with one of the guys behind Ivory Coat and he sent me a couple of samples and addressed all of my questions about their ingredients and formulation and i was super impressed with the speed of their response as well as what he had to say. Will see how the pups go on this but so far so good =]

        • Rachael Jayne Mendizabal September 26, 2016 at 10:04 am

          I will check that out! I have a pug who is having some allergy flare ups so it might be a good time to change brands anyway. I am looking at K9 and Ziwipeaks – anything to help with his red paws!

        • Definitely check them out though and send them a message even, they may have a specific formula that will help him. My dogs havent had any skin issues before but before i got the ivory coat i had switch to wellnesses standard, non wheat free, version and theyve been super itchy and its already starting to clear up since the switch. Good luck!

  10. How does this compare to the stay loyal brand?

    • I have had to stop giving my dog the Stay Loyal Turkey and Salmon because the second ingredient is ‘pork meal’ which my VET said is terrible for dogs. He said ‘never give your dogs pork products’ – they can’t process it and it clogs up arteries

    • I personally prefer this it has no synthetic vitamin k, I really really dislike menadione I think was its name, I’ve read of a lot of liver failures while dogs were on it long term and even short.

      A lot don’t see it as a problem, because it’s low on the list and thus a small dosage however you need to take into account your dog is going to be eating it every day, likely his entire life and so a toxic build up usually occurs.

      Here’s something written on a website:
      And, based on German research…some of the negative effects of menadione are…
      • causes cytotoxicity in liver cells
      • damages the natural vitamin K cycle
      • causes hemolytic anemia and hyperbilirubinemia, not just linked to large doses
      • is directly toxic in high doses (vomiting, albuminuria), unlike natural vitamin K
      • has never been researched or specifically approved for long term use, such as in pet food
      • FDA has banned synthetic vitamin K from over-the-counter supplements because of its high toxicity.

      I would generally stay away from it, also wellness core is a really talked about food, everyone loves it, if your not already on it I’d give it a try.
      Kale in this food provides natural vitamin K which does not cause liver toxicity.

  11. This brand is highly recommended quiet often on dog food advisor, if anyone has dogs with skin issues or tummy troubles they should try this it has worked wonders.

    However keep in mind that every dog like every human is different and it may not work for your dogs! So preferably don’t scream at me if your dog did poorly on it because you were warned.

  12. My dog is allergic to chicken and has digestive problems. Is this food ok for her. She is 3 years old. Weighs only 3 kilos. Small breed.

  13. I have 2 dogs medium,I have been given a big bag of Puppy food is it ok to give to my 2 dogs aged 15 and 5 mixed with their wet food.

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